The most fascinating aspect of “Max” is the unique relationship between Hitler and his Jewish patron. They're a study in contrasts, with the excitable Hitler determined to shake things up and Rothman, deadened to anything but the joy of art, wishing for a quite, uneventful life. But they're also linked by their war experiences and artistic inclinations. Their interactions, amidst the post-war social turmoil of Germany, are riveting and offer a window into the artistic and political debates of the time, without whitewashing the ugly aspects of Hitler's personality. And Cusack and Taylor are superb in their roles.
“Max” doesn't completely hold together--its ending is a too obvious stab at showing how Hitler's hateful oratory will culminate in the Holocaust--but it's a refreshingly new take on a familiar story. Starring John Cusack, Noah Taylor and Molly Parker. Directed and written by Menno Meyjes. Produced by Andras Hamori. A Lions Gate release. Drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 106 min. Opens 12/27.